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Shooting Video/Stills for a Non-Profit for No Money

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PaloAltoDoug, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. PaloAltoDoug

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    My question is about using video/still images I've created and provided (free) to a non-profit organization. MY SITUATION: I volunteer my time and video/photo talents for a non-profit. If I use my Phantom 2 and GoPro to do some shots for them (all volunteer time) and then they use one or more of the clips in a video to talk about what they do as a community-based non-profit, am I violating the "commercial use of drones" draft rules the FAA is touting? I would categorize it as educational, non-profit, community-based use. I would appreciate any insights. The FAA rulemaking process might drag on for years and I'd like to help this non-profit. Again, I will not get a penny for any of this. Thanks!!
     
  2. Utopia Texas

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    I am not a lawyer and you will probably have to check with a local lawyer but......as long as you are not receiving any money and the group is non profit how could anyone define your work as a commercial enterprise?
     
  3. PaloAltoDoug

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    I agree with your view and I will talk to a friend who is a lawyer to just get a sense of the situation. I just don't want the non-profit to be put into an awkward position. I certainly hope the FAA will provide us some clarification on this. So many wonderful opportunities to be creative. Thanks!
     
  4. Hughie

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    I have a feeling there will need to be some brave soles who pave the way on this by being part of case law, before it becomes clear :(
     
  5. Suwaneeguy

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    I don't see where that is a problem. Even though the FAA may not like it, I'd ask the NPO for something in writing showing that the images were volunteered and no money exchanged hands.
    What I'd like to know is, how would the FAA know who took the photos and how?
    Way back in the really good old days, there was a photographer who sent his camera up attached to a balloon.
    So who is to say I couldn't do the same thing today?

    It just seems to me that since the patriot act was signed, cameras have come under attack.
    Why is it legal to attach a camera to a manned helicopter and not one that is remote controlled?
     
  6. SteveMann

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    Yes.

    Private pilots have been getting busted for many years thinking they aren't making a commercial flight just because they aren't getting paid or that they are making the flight as a volunteer for a non-profit organization.

    From: http://www.aviationairportdevelopmentlaw.com/articles/unmanned-aircraft-systems-uas/
     
  7. PaloAltoDoug

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    Hi Steve. That seems pretty definitive. What a shame. Thanks for the insight! I do wish that the FAA rulemaking would be sped up. There must be some middle-ground that can be reached to allow us to use footage for a good cause. What are the tea leaves saying about the direction of the discussion?
     
  8. BuzzBuzzZoomZoom

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    Still doesn't sound like a problem to me (mind you, I'm not a lawyer).
    The quote that that Steve puts up does mention that it doesn't have to be for profit to be considered commercial...but it does say something "of value" has to be received, even if it's not money. Doug isn't receiving anything for this...not comps, not credits, not anything. So how could he be considered receiving "something of value?"

    Unless...they consider feeling good about being charitable something of value? That's about the only thing I see that Doug is gaining here.
     
  9. Buk

    Buk

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    I found this to be a relevant discussion, as I'm participating in such an arrangement. I'm wondering what value is placed on the enjoyment I get from the arrangement. In my case and perhaps Doug's, the non-profit may experience increased membership or increased donations, therefore receiving some value, thereby violating FAA rules.

    As a Congressman stated at a hearing {grossly paraphrasing} "...if I or my son post one of our flights on YouTube, we are a violating the law..." because YouTube places an advertisement on top of the video. Will the FAA also clamp down on individuals posting on sites such a GoPro and Skypixel?

    The only way I see not to directly or indirectly violate the commercial aspect of FAA's rule is to fly, video or photograph, and then show no one the fruits of you flight. Sharing a video or photo with anyone could result in someone along the chain of sharing friends to gain value.
     
  10. GoodnNuff

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    What are you recieving in compensation for your services?
    The law quoted pertains to compensation such as a dinner, a tank of aviation fuel, etc.
    I know non-commercial pilots who volunteer to fly/transport for animal rescues (i.e flying an adoptable dog to a adopter or rescue facility) and do so without consequence as their time and expense is fully voluntary.
     
  11. GoodnNuff

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    http://www.cloud9living.com/blog/8-amaz ... s-license/

    I think you will be ok volunteering your time. Just don't accept a free dinner or foot massage...lol.
     
    Jogle likes this.
  12. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    You'd probably be in contravention of the FAA's broad and fundamentalist idea of what constitutes "commercial", which is quite fanciful and far-reaching.
    It's also impossible for them to administer properly when it's not about the flying or the taking of photographs, but who you sell or give the images to.
    But you are extremely unlikely to come to the attention of the FAA. They are looking for the easy targets in viral videos etc.
    They are never going to know about a couple of stills given to a non-profit. Even if they did, there's no value in it for them to go after you. They want good examples to warn other users and if they came after you for such a tiny infringement it would only make them look even more stupid.

    Look at the recent case where they came down on the guy that made the TV tower video.
    http://www.tvnewscheck.com/playout/2015 ... -response/
    All he got was an order to commercial use of his company’s Phantom. No penalty or legal action.

    If it was me, I'd go on doing what I was doing. Fly safely and do good with your Phantom.
    Blanket adherence to ridiculous rulings don't help anyone.
     
  13. PaloAltoDoug

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    Nothing but the "thanks" of the people I am volunteering for at the non-profit. They do not reimburse me for any of my volunteer costs.
     
  14. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    I agree with Goodnuff. So called "angel flights" happen all the time where a private pilot transports live organs or sick patients needing treatment for free. Some of my friends have piloted these flights.
     
  15. mendezl

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    You are not supposed to drive above the speed limit. We all do sometimes. No big deal. Too many multirotors out there for the FAA to waste time dealing with little things like this. You should be ok.